Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Lamb & Flag, 1st August

I very rarely go drinking in Covent Garden, and when I have in the past it has generally been with ‘out-of-towners’ and we tend to end up in places like Browns or All Bar One that we know are reliable. This is one reason why when I read about the Lamb & Flag in an article on the best literary pubs in London, I put it on the List. I thought it would be good to have a nice pub in the bag, for the few times we’re in the area and we don’t know where to go. Another reason was the fact that it sounded like such a lovely pub. It is one of London’s oldest pubs; there has been a drinking establishment on that spot in some form or other since 1772 and it claims that Dickens used to be a regular. It used to be called the Bucket of Blood due to the bare knuckle fighting that used to take place within. With a past like that I had to go.

But I only managed to get there to see what it was like for the first time last night. This is partly because it isn’t the sort of place you just stumble across when you’re out and about. It’s tucked away down a street which, approaching from Long Acre, doesn’t even look like it’s a real street. But if you have faith and persist, you round a corner and, most probably are confronted with masses of people, like I was last night. My heart sank a little – I hadn’t expected it to be so busy! But, luckily, it was just the good weather that had drawn people outside, not a lack of space indoors, and once in, it wasn’t at all crowded. We even managed to grab a table in the back room.

It’s a nice enough pub but nothing particularly outstanding about it. I think it’s mostly its history which lures people to it, or perhaps it is the challenge of even finding it in the first place. Wine is a little on the pricey side – a 175 ml glass of pinot grigiot or sauvignon blanc is the best part of a fiver. We had intended to get some food there but by the time we got around to it they had stopped serving! The kitchen closes at 8, which I think is early. We had to rely on crisps and pistachios – those stalwart pub snacks for the British drinker.

It’s good to know this place exists if I am stuck in Covent Garden and in need of a pub that isn’t a chain. But if I’m not constrained to Covent Garden and just want a nice old pub to go to, I’d stick with Ye Olde Mitre or the Princess Louise which I think are a bit more interesting.   

Square Meal

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Please feel free to add your views, or maybe suggest somewhere I should put on my list!